Cheerleading has been an important part of my life for a long time. I was a competitive cheerleader all through high school and college, and before I came to Success Academy to teach kindergarten in 2014, I worked for the National Cheerleaders Association. For me, cheerleading is passion and precision. It promotes physical fitness, strength, and flexibility. Cheerleaders are both athletes and performers, putting on a show for the fans and getting them to cheer along.
I love sharing the joy I found when I was a cheerleader, so when I came to SA Harlem 4, I asked my principal, Mr. Loskoch, if I could start a cheer squad for third and fourth grade girls — and I was so thrilled when he said yes!
When our basketball team plays other SA schools, everyone in the crowd shows school spirit — but H4 has a squad of 14 girls, in uniform, with pompons, doing formations and lifts, calling out cheers and firing up the fans.
They are THE QUAD. And they’ve been practicing hard to get ready for their first game on Jan. 9.
During their cheers, the girls are constantly moving, keeping time with the music and with the other girls, keeping the energy up, and calling out their cheers loud and clear, so the crowd can understand the words and cheer along. There’s “Let’s Go H4, Let’s Go!” “W-I-N, Fight to Win!” And, “We…Are…the Mighty, Mighty H4!” (Watch The Quad in action!)
The H4 cheer squad is now in its second year, and it’s amazing how much the girls have grown. They’re developing the flexibility, balance, and strength needed to make a human pyramid. Moving in precision formations with their squadmates is a skill they’ve had to practice over and over again, but many of the girls now have a really good sense of what’s going on around them, so everyone is doing the same thing at the same time. That’s not easy! Neither is enunciating their words clearly, so a gym full of people can hear their calls and respond. With every rehearsal, the girls get better and better at these skills.
For many of the girls, the cheer squad is also a chance to learn leadership. Each cheer has a captain who takes the lead running drills during practice and calling out the timing to the other girls during performances. The girls trade off being captain, so many of them get to experience what it’s like to lead their peers as well as the crowd.
Being on the cheer squad also gives the girls the chance to do things they wouldn’t normally get to do. For some, it’s the simple joy of dancing in formation with the other girls. For others, it’s being part of a team. Best of all, for all the girls, it’s getting to know girls outside their own classes, so now they have cheerleader friends all over the school.
It’s great fun cheering for the basketball team as they compete against other schools. But cheer squads also compete against other cheerleaders. Maybe one day The Quad will become a competitive cheerleading team and go up against other schools. And then, the rest of SA H4 will be cheering for them!